EWA Asks FCC to Revisit Decision on Low-Power Indoor Devices in 6 GHz
Monday, August 29, 2022 | Comments

In an ex parte letter, the Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) asked the FCC to revisit its decisions regarding unlicensed low power indoor (LPI) devices in the 6 GHz band.

In 2020, the FCC adopted rules that allowed unlicensed use in the 6 GHz band. The approval came despite concerns from public safety and other organizations that unlicensed use of the band could interfere with critical communications links.

Several organizations were specifically concerned about LPIs in the band. A coalition of groups asked the FCC to stay and reconsider rules concerning LPIs in December 2021, arguing that tests showed the devices could cause interference to LPIs up to 4.5 kilometers away.

In its letter, the EWA noted that Southern Company had recently filed an ex parte presentation that showed the interference potential of LPI devices to the band.

“Like Southern, EWA does not oppose the introduction of unlicensed devices in the 6 GHz band,” the letter said. “It appreciates the compelling interest in making additional spectrum available for these types of uses and believes spectrum sharing can be implemented successfully, if appropriate measures are taken to protect the operations of existing licensees. Based on Southern’s extensive work in this band, those measures have not been adopted in the 6 GHz band.”

In the letter, EWA said that the key to solving the issue was reconciling Monte Carlo simulations that the FCC relied on in its decision-making process with results from real-world testing by Southern that were very different.

“Of course, probabilistic modeling is a useful tool when evaluating possible uses of spectrum,” the letter said. “However, when real-world testing produces significantly different results, as is the case here, and when the details of the simulations have not been publicly disclosed and, thus, cannot be independently evaluated, further review is needed.”

The EWA said that the FCC should require 6 GHz incumbents and unlicensed proponents to undertake collaborative real-world testing with guidance and participation from the FCC.

“Since EWA assumes unlicensed proponents do not intend to cause interference to critical microwave links or wish to assume responsibility and economic obligations for interference resulting from unlicensed devices, they should have no objection to participating in such testing,” the letter said. “6 GHz fixed microwave links play an absolutely critical role in public safety, critical infrastructure other essential business enterprises and common carrier communications networks. The significant differences between the results of real-world testing using commercially available devices and simulations that Southern contends are based on flawed input must be resolved as promptly as possible.

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